Continuing Legal Education

Hot Topics in Agricultural Law - 2017

February 3, 2017
8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
6.50 MCLE hours, including 1.00 approved Professional Responsibility MCLE credit hours

Illinois Department of Agriculture
801 E. Sangamon Ave.
(map and directions)


Don’t miss this annual event that updates you on a number of key agricultural law issues!

Get the information you need on several hot topic areas in the agricultural law area, including recent developments and anticipated changes to Illinois and federal estate and income tax law. Attorneys with intermediate practice experience who attend this seminar will better understand:

  • Mineral law surveys and updates involving the Severed Mineral Interest Act;
  • The environmental laws that may affect farming businesses;
  • The agricultural-related legislation involving agro-environmental issues;
  • How to create a succession plan for family-owned farms;
  • Farm lease forms and current leasing trends;
  • Key ethics issues to be aware of, including confidentiality and conflicts of interest; and
  • Much more!


Program Coordinators:
Laura A. Harmon
, Illinois Agricultural Association, Bloomington
Barry O. Hines, Attorney at Law, Springfield
Andrew G. White, Bellatti Barton Cochran & White, Springfield

Program Moderator:
Barry O. Hines
, Attorney at Law, Springfield


NOTE: Beginning in 2017, your registration includes access to electronic course materials that will be sent to you via email prior to the seminar. Printed course materials may be purchased for a nomial fee via the registration page.



A special thanks to FARM CREDIT for being a financial contributor for this program.


8:30 – 9:00 a.m.  Estate Tax Update
Get the updates you need on the federal estate tax law changes that took effect during 2016, as well as the expected changes in the coming months. A review of the cases that were decided over the course of the past year in the tax court and the federal district courts that impact the agricultural community is also included.
Michael G. Barton, Bellatti Barton & Cochran, Springfield

9:00 – 9:30 a.m.  Income Tax Update
Don’t miss this brief update on the 2016 federal and state income tax issues affecting agricultural producers and agribusiness, as well as the specific issues of entity choice, succession planning, and other business planning issues for family farm operations.
Richard C. Walden, CPA, Carlinville

9:30 – 10:30 a.m.  Mineral Law Survey
This comprehensive overview of mineral law surveys addresses the transfer of mineral rights in connection with estates, and discusses the updates involving the Severed Mineral Interest Act.
David M. Foreman, Foreman & Kessler Ltd, Salem

10:30 – 10:45 a.m.  Break (beverages provided)

10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.  Hot Topics in Agricultural Law
This presentation discusses a number of hot topic issues in the area of agricultural law including:

  • Agricultural Legislation and Litigation Update – A general overview of the agricultural-related legislation and cases involving agro-environmental issues.
  • Environmental Laws Down on the Farm – A look at the environmental laws that can affect the farming business.
  • Solar, Wind and Drones – Find out what’s happening in Illinois regarding these three important areas.

Laura A. Harmon, Illinois Agricultural Association, Bloomington
Lauren C. Lurkins, Illinois Farm Bureau, Bloomington
Garret W. Thalgott, Illinois Agricultural Association, Bloomington

12:15 – 1:15 p.m.  Lunch (provided)

1:15 – 2:30 p.m.  Farm Succession Planning
This segment focuses on the emotional and non-tax issues that confront all family-owned farms in planning for the future of the farm and business. A look at the tools available to the practitioner to implement the business and farm estate succession plan is included.
Charles G. Brown, Brown Law Group LLC, DeKalb
Keith W. Casteel, Samuels Miller Schroeder Jackson & Sly LLP, Decatur
Prof. Ronald Hanson (retired), University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Harlan Agribusiness Professor Emeritus, Nebraska

2:30 – 3:15 p.m.  Farm Leases
Update your knowledge of the current University of Illinois cash rent lease form and general leasing trends with this informative session. Topics include: hybrid leases; bonus provisions; and negotiating new leases in light of declining farm incomes.
Jonathan W. Coppess, University of Illinois, Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Environmental Economics, Urbana
Andrew G. White, Bellatti Barton & Cochran LLC, Springfield

3:15 – 3:30 p.m.  Break (refreshments provided)
Sponsored by the Illinois Bar Foundation

3:30 – 4:30 p.m.  Ethics*
This presentation explores a number of professional responsibility and ethics issues, including: knowing who the client is; confidentiality issues (rule 1.6); conflict of interest in counseling multigenerational client families (rule 1.7-1.8 and 1.10); duties to former clients (rule 1.9); elderly family members and their involvement in the family farm corporation (rule 1.14); the proposed ABA model rule changes; maintaining your professional reputation online (Avvo); and self-audit reporting requirement proposed by the ARDC. 
Leslie A. Wood, Wood Law Office, Glen Carbon